Tour Operator


What is a tour operator?

A tour operator is any person who owns a business, which transports paying tourists on a scheduled itinerary and makes arrangements for their clients concerning accommodation, transport, and excursion/tours. Tour operator often owns a vehicle to transport tourists and he/she often accompanies tourists.

What are the Legal Prescripts?

There are three main prescripts that govern the Tourist Operator sector and they are:

 How to become a Tour Operator?

  1. Be a South African citizen or be in possession of a valid work permit.
  2. Certified copy of Driver’s license/ID/Company Registration certificate
  3. Tax clearance and SARS Pin
  4. Company Profile
  5. Certified copy of Vehicle license disc and Roadworthy certificate (including accreditation as a Tourist Transport Operator)
  6. Certified copy of Public Passenger Liability Insurance 

Did you know?

Once your tour operator has been established, you should register with; 

Licenses and Permits

  • Driver’s License - One requires driver’s license to drive a vehicle on the public roads
  • Apply for Road Transportation Permit from the Eastern Cape Department of Transport. You need to be clear on your application that you will be transporting tourists and mark clearly the route that will be used.
  • Apply for Professional Drivers Permit. You need to have a valid driving license according to the vehicle you are driving.
  • Get a qualified tour guide to travel with tourists, it’s illegal to guide tourists without being accreditation. 

Types of Insurances

Owning and operating a tourism business can render you to a range of possibilities you may not even have thought of, any one of which can collapse your business. Therefore, it is critical to cover yourself. There is a variety of types of tourism insurance among others are the following:

  • Passenger Liability Insurance covers your liability against potential injury if you are in an accident while transporting passengers (whether on land, sea or air). The amount of cover will depend on various factors, such as the size of the vehicle, and can include roadside assistance, hire of another vehicle, and more.
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance indemnifies you against all sums you may become legally liable to pay if a customer sues you as a result of neglect, error or omission and /or breach of contract in the conduct of your business. This can include costs and expenses in the investigation, defense or settlement of any claim.

Important sources of information 

  1. Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism: 
  2. Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency:
  3. Eastern Cape Transport Department: 
  4. National Transport Department:
  5. National Department of Tourism:


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